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10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

10 Shocking Facts About Processed Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines “processed food” as “any food other than a raw agricultural commodity and includes any raw agricultural commodity that has been subject to processing, such as canning, cooking, freezing, dehydration, or milling.” By this definition, most food can be considered processed.

For purposes of this article though, when I say “processed food” I mean food that has been altered with artificial ingredients, fillers and chemical additives.

Because this is the stuff that’s making us fat, causing disease and taking years off our lives.

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Read these 10 facts about processed food and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s dig in.

70 percent of our calories now come from processed food.

It’s a sad fact that 7 out of every 10 foods that touch your mouth are altered with chemical ingredients, according to Melanie Warner, a former New York Times reporter who authored the book Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.

Processed food is addictive.

There’s a reason you can’t stop eating all those sugary, salty snacks: they’re designed to keep you coming back. Processed foods stimulate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that lights up your brain in similar ways that drugs do. Food companies know this … and they actually engineer their products to have this effect. Journalist Michael Moss says in his book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us:

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Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They’ve discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine.

Processed food is plentiful.

In Pandora’s Lunchbox, Melanie Warner talks about how there are now close to 5,000 additives allowed in our food. This number continues to grow year after year, too.

Processed foods have disgusting ingredients.

  • Titanium dioxide, which is commonly used in paints and sunscreens, is also found in many salad dressings, coffee creamers and cake icing.
  • One of the key ingredients in many canned and fast food chili is silicon dioxide, also known as sand.
  • Lanolin, an oily substance found in sheep’s wool, is an additive used in chewing gum.
  • Cellulose, which is actually ground-up wood pulp, is often used as an anti-caking agent in bagged cheeses.
  • Sodium bisulfite, a toilet bowl cleaning chemical, is also used in potato chips.

Processed food will kill you.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that eating a diet high in processed foods has been proven to take years off your life. Pretty good incentive to eat more real food, if you ask me.

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Processed foods will make you fat.

Research shows the “Western Diet”, which is prevalent in countries like the U.S., Great Britain and Australia, will make you fat. Potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and sugary snacks, in particular, are the four processed foods that cause you to gain the most weight over time.

Processed foods have been a root cause of nearly every modern disease.

A comprehensive research review of 172 clinical studies published in the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition concluded that virtually all chronic diseases are partially caused by our modern diet of engineered foods.

Eating processed foods will make it harder for you to burn calories.

Eating a diet high in processed food causes your body to burn fewer calories—50 percent fewer, to be exact.

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Processed foods cause imbalances in your gut.

The microorganisms living in your digestive tract form an important “inner ecosystem” that influences many aspects of your health. Processed foods disrupt the microorganisms in your digestive tract, which can lead to serious problems.

Processed meats may cause cancer.

Bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, and sausages may be delicious … but the effects of eating these processed meats can be devastating. Studies show eating them can significantly increase your odds of developing heart disease and type II diabetes and may take years off your life.

If these 10 things sound like good reasons to stop eating processed foods, start working on changing those bad habits into good ones. Take it slow, phase out one food at a time and you’ll change your health and your life.

Featured photo credit: Let Ideas Compete via flickr.com

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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